Incumbent Richard Chalk appears to have squeaked past the 50-percent threshold in Tuesday night's Republican primary contest for the state House of Representatives District 123 seat.
That means he will avoid a runoffand currently is unopposed for his third term in the general election in November. Chalk defeated challengers Stu Rodman and Starletta Hairston in the primary.
Chalk collected 2,308 votes in the county's unofficial tally, or 51.4 percent. Challenger and Beaufort County Councilman Rodman collected 1,585 votes, or 35.3 percent. Former Councilwoman Hairston collected 598 votes, or 13.3 percent, for the Hilton Head Island seat.
"I think (the victory) is a pretty clear message from the voters that we are moving in the right direction," Chalk said.
Moving into a third term, Chalk said he'd focus on three issues: changing the state's education funding formula; creating a friendly climate for small businesses; and protecting the Lowcountry's natural resources.
Rodman said he would have to look more closely at precinct-by-precinct results to figure out what cost him the election.
"If (Chalk's) won, I would extend my congratulations to him," Rodman said. "He ran a good campaign."
Rodman will continue to serve on the county board and has no other plans to run for higher office.
Hairston, who finished third in the race and also lost a primary to Chalk in 2004, said she had no plans to run for office again.
She didn't try to explain Tuesday's results.
"There's nothing I can say," Hairston said. "The results are what they are."
County elections director Agnes Garvin said there are an unknown number of provisional ballots yet to be counted in the race, which will be certified Thursday.